Special Report

Best Private High School in Every State

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The college admissions process has become more competitive than ever before. From 1990 to 2016, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in the United States – the traditional college-age population – grew from from 26.9 million to 30.9 million, an increase of 15%. Additionally, many entry-level job positions that formerly did not require a secondary degree now do.

A preliminary report from the National Center for Education Statistics estimates the number of students attending American colleges and universities in the fall of 2018 at 19.9 million, just slightly down from fall of 2010’s peak enrollment of 21.0 million. With attendance near peak levels, many colleges and universities have become increasingly more selective, causing acceptance rates at many of the most competitive institutions to plummet.

One of the most important deciding factors affecting acceptance rates to a top college is the type and quality of high school one attends. An impressive 95.8% of 2009 ninth graders who had attended only private high schools had enrolled in postsecondary education – an education program after high school – as of February 2016. In comparison, 70.9% of students who had attended only public high schools were similarly enrolled.

While attending private high school increases a young adult’s chances of attending college, it is the prestige and quality of education that comes with that private high school that largely informs how likely they are to be accepted at a top institution.

24/7 Wall St. has identified the best private high school in each state based on rankings of all private schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche.

Click here to see the best private high school in every state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Alabama
> High school: Indian Springs School
> Students: 315
> Average SAT score: 1460
> Annual tuition: $43,300

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Alaska
> High school: Lumen Christi Catholic High School
> Students: 72
> Average SAT score: 1170
> Annual tuition: $7,500

Arizona
> High school: Phoenix Country Day School
> Students: 750
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $25,000

Arkansas
> High school: Pulaski Academy
> Students: 1,393
> Average SAT score: 1310
> Annual tuition: $5,540 – $14,025

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California
> High school: Harvard-Westlake School
> Students: 1,598
> Average SAT score: 1460
> Annual tuition: $35,900

Colorado
> High school: Kent Denver School
> Students: 701
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $27,330

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Connecticut
> High school: Choate Rosemary Hall
> Students: 859
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $43,580

Delaware
> High school: St. Andrew’s School
> Students: 310
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $55,500

Florida
> High school: Pine Crest School
> Students: 2,636
> Average SAT score: 1360
> Annual tuition: $31,030

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Georgia
> High school: The Westminster Schools
> Students: 1,874
> Average SAT score: 1420
> Annual tuition: $29,275

Hawaii
> High school: Punahou School
> Students: 3,768
> Average SAT score: 1320
> Annual tuition: $23,850

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Idaho
> High school: Riverstone International School
> Students: 327
> Average SAT score: 1330
> Annual tuition: $18,995

Illinois
> High school: University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
> Students: 2,051
> Average SAT score: 1460
> Annual tuition: $33,558

Indiana
> High school: Culver Academies
> Students: 814
> Average SAT score: 1300
> Annual tuition: $48,500

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Iowa
> High school: Maharishi School
> Students: 179
> Average SAT score: 1320
> Annual tuition: $19,500

Kansas
> High school: The Independent School
> Students: 536
> Average SAT score: 1300
> Annual tuition: $7,200-$13,700

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Kentucky
> High school: Kentucky Country Day School
> Students: 848
> Average SAT score: 1380
> Annual tuition: $22,540

Louisiana
> High school: Isidore Newman School
> Students: 917
> Average SAT score: 1350
> Annual tuition: $21,842

Maine
> High school: Waynflete
> Students: 556
> Average SAT score: 1310
> Annual tuition: $31,615

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Maryland
> High school: Holton-Arms School
> Students: 660
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $40,150

Massachusetts
> High school: Phillips Academy
> Students: 1,150
> Average SAT score: 1460
> Annual tuition: $43,300

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Michigan
> High school: Cranbrook Schools
> Students: 1,659
> Average SAT score: 1390
> Annual tuition: $34,200

Minnesota
> High school: The Blake School
> Students: 1,380
> Average SAT score: 1380
> Annual tuition: $29,025

Mississippi
> High school: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
> Students: 1,172
> Average SAT score: 1360
> Annual tuition: $18,620

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Missouri
> High school: John Burroughs School
> Students: 610
> Average SAT score: 1400
> Annual tuition: $27,540

Montana
> High school: Mount Ellis Academy
> Students: 72
> Average SAT score: N/A
> Annual tuition: $8,150-$15,125

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Nebraska
> High school: Mount Michael Benedictine High School
> Students: 239
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $11,875

Nevada
> High school: The Meadows School
> Students: 850
> Average SAT score: 1390
> Annual tuition: $25,000

New Hampshire
> High school: Phillips Exeter Academy
> Students: 1,085
> Average SAT score: 1430
> Annual tuition: $38,740

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New Jersey
> High school: The Lawrenceville School
> Students: 822
> Average SAT score: 1430
> Annual tuition: $51,440

New Mexico
> High school: Albuquerque Academy
> Students: 1,130
> Average SAT score: 1390
> Annual tuition: $22,870

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New York
> High school: Trinity School
> Students: 1,001
> Average SAT score: 1490
> Annual tuition: $47,965

North Carolina
> High school: Cary Academy
> Students: 753
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $22,400

North Dakota
> High school: Oak Grove Lutheran School
> Students: 455
> Average SAT score: 1380
> Annual tuition: $8,480

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Ohio
> High school: Western Reserve Academy
> Students: 405
> Average SAT score: 1360
> Annual tuition: $36,750

Oklahoma
> High school: Casady School
> Students: 915
> Average SAT score: 1350
> Annual tuition: $20,150

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Oregon
> High school: Catlin Gabel School
> Students: 763
> Average SAT score: 1360
> Annual tuition: $32,700

Pennsylvania
> High school: Germantown Friends School
> Students: 906
> Average SAT score: 1390
> Annual tuition: $35,775

Rhode Island
> High school: The Wheeler School
> Students: 768
> Average SAT score: 1350
> Annual tuition: $33,865

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South Carolina
> High school: Christ Church Episcopal School
> Students: 1,107
> Average SAT score: 1290
> Annual tuition: $20,515

South Dakota
> High school: Freeman Academy
> Students: 87
> Average SAT score: N/A
> Annual tuition: Varies for Each Family

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Tennessee
> High school: University School of Nashville
> Students: 1,067
> Average SAT score: 1340
> Annual tuition: $24,894

Texas
> High school: St. Mark’s School of Texas
> Students: 863
> Average SAT score: 1470
> Annual tuition: $29,496

Utah
> High school: The Waterford School
> Students: 919
> Average SAT score: 1370
> Annual tuition: $23,510

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Vermont
> High school: Green Mountain Valley School
> Students: 106
> Average SAT score: 1360
> Annual tuition: $40,360


Virginia
> High school: The Potomac School
> Students: 1,060
> Average SAT score: 1380
> Annual tuition: $38,550

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Washington
> High school: Lakeside School
> Students: 838
> Average SAT score: 1440
> Annual tuition: $32,000

West Virginia
> High school: The Linsly School
> Students: 424
> Average SAT score: 1230
> Annual tuition: $18,830

Wisconsin
> High school: The Prairie School
> Students: 634
> Average SAT score: 1330
> Annual tuition: $18,990

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Wyoming
> High school: Jackson Hole Community School
> Students: 84
> Average SAT score: 1350
> Annual tuition: $22,600

Detailed findings:

Private school students made up 10.3% of all elementary and secondary school students in the United States as of 2015. These students demonstrated an overall higher level of educational accomplishment than students in the public education system.

Students who attend the country’s best private high schools frequently have the highest average scores on standardized tests. While the average SAT score for all students in 2018 was 1068, according to non-profit The College Board, the average score at schools highlighted on our list was well over 1300 in in the vast majority of cases, according to Niche.

Students at the best private high schools generally enjoy smaller class sizes. The pupil-to-teacher ratio was 16.1 in the average public school and 12.2 in private schools in 2014. All but six of the best private schools have fewer than 10 students per teacher. Vermont’s Green Mountain Valley School has only three students per teacher, while Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Community School and Connecticut’s Choate Rosemary Hall each have four.

Of course, these benefits come at a price and the relatively expensive tuition at these schools puts attendance out of reach for many. Tuition varies between the various private schools. The most expensive school – St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware – has a yearly tuition of $55,500. New Jersey’s The Lawrenceville School costs $51,440. One year’s tuition at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, North Dakota, is less than $9,000, however.

Methodology:

To determine the best private high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all private schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. Data on the number of students, average SAT score, and annual tuition also came from Niche. When tuition data was not available from Niche, outside sources were used.

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